I can say the words pelvic floor until I am blue in the face and people will still look at me with this look that says, yeah yeah I know what you are talking about. But if I ask them, ‘do you know what I’m talking about?’ they shake their heads. It’s one of those things. It’s one of those terms that seems to bring people back to the classroom – afraid to ask questions and afraid to say they don’t know in case they look stupid. But the truth is most people are not familiar with it. They could not describe it, or are not really sure what it does and how it should feel when you move it.
So recently I asked an illustrator to draw the pelvis for me from the front and back, and then I asked her to draw the pelvic floor from a bottom up view so that people could see what it is like. Here they are for those of you with a curiosity.
The first pic is the boney structure of the pelvis as if you were looking at someone from the front.
The second pic is the pelvis boney structure from the back (notice the tail bone).
The third pic is the pelvic floor – the group of muscles at the base of your pelvis that are SO important, especially for women. The pelvic floor basically holds all of your pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder) in place (NHS). Having a strong pelvic floor allows you to have control over your bladder for one (incontinence is such a big problem for many women), for sexual function and birthing. A weak pelvic floor is far from ideal and can really impact your life.
Pelvic floor exercise is a term thrown around, as is the word kegel … in part 2 I will go further into this and try and explain a Pilates term we use all the time ‘lifting the pelvic floor’. Hopefully then you can finally ‘get’ what it means and why it is so important to really understand it.